When Dr. Anthony Fauci retired from his position as the Director of NIAID in December of 2022, he thought that all speculation regarding his role in the origin of COVID would retire with him. But Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has a different retirement plan in mind for Fauci.
On July 31, 2023, Paul announced a criminal referral to the DOJ to investigate Fauci’s connection and knowledge of the origins of the COVID-19 virus.
The basis of the investigation centers around an email from early 2020 where Fauci references a phone call with credible scientists who expressed concern about unnatural mutations found in the nCOV virus. During the phone call, the scientists pointed to mutations that would not naturally evolve in bats and speculated that the mutations were intentionally inserted into the virus.
In the email, Fauci acknowledges that the scientists’ concern was heightened by the fact that gain-of-function experiments were common in the Wuhan University and that one of those experiments was used to determine molecular mechanisms found in bat viruses adapting to humans.
Paul cites the email as evidence that Fauci knowingly lied at a 2021 committee hearing when he claimed that he had absolutely no part in funding any gain of function research. During the tense exchange between Paul and Fauci, the senator asked Fauci if he would like to retract his denial. Paul reminded Fauci that lying before Congress was a federal crime.
Fauci’s response was to double down on his denials, reiterating that he had never lied before Congress.
But a recent report released by the Government Accountability Office tells a different story. The report reveals that the Wuhan Institute of Virology received funds from the National Institutes of Health, although it isn’t clear why. This, along with Fauci’s email, fuels Paul’s belief that COVID originated in the Wuhan laboratory as part of gain-of-function research and with Fauci’s knowledge.
If this is the case, Fauci did, in fact, knowingly lie before Congress.
This is only the latest in potential legal complications for Fauci. Earlier this year it was discovered that he may not have had the authority to issue any orders during the COVID pandemic because his tenure was expired.
Under the 21st Century Cures Act, NIH Directors, including Fauci, are only permitted to serve for a five-year term. After the term’s expiration, a reappointment is required for a director to continue in the role. Fauci’s term ended in December 2021, and his reappointment was not made until June 2023.
This oversight potentially renders any decisions dictated by Fauci between January 2022 and June 2023 invalid. This includes his rules on masking, vaccinations, and other COVID-19 “guidance” and expands to cover any funding or grants awarded by the NIH authorized during the year and a half in question.
If it’s found that Fauci, along with thirteen other NIH officials, was not authorized to act on behalf of the NIH, nearly $23 billion in research funding would be invalidated. This would allow competing researchers to file litigation and sue over lost grant opportunities.
Several of Biden’s pet projects received research grants under the NIH during this time, including grants awarded to the EcoHealth Alliance, noted for its connection with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Fauci may also be required to repay his salary, an estimated over $430k annually, for the year and a half he functioned as an NIH Director without authorization.
Unfortunately for Paul, however, the Senate does not have the power to bring criminal charges against anyone. The referral must get past Merrick Garland and the DOJ, a highly unlikely scenario. Even Paul acknowledges that the referral is doomed, telling Fox News that he believes Garland is a “pure, rank partisan.”
Paul also pointed out that Fauci received a higher salary than the president and received $1 million from a private foundation while still employed as a public servant. “Everything about this is rotten to the core,” Paul observes.
Whether Fauci ever faces a criminal investigation or not, one thing is certain. His quiet retirement from the NIH isn’t going as planned.